Most patients with follicular lymphoma (FL) experience multiple relapses necessitating subsequent lines of therapy. Ibrutinib, a Bruton tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor approved for the treatment of several B-cell malignancies, showed promising activity in FL in a phase 1 study. We report the results of a phase 2 trial evaluating ibrutinib in recurrent FL. Forty patients with recurrent FL were treated with ibrutinib 560 mg/d until progression or intolerance. The primary end point was overall response rate (ORR). Exploratory analyses included correlations of outcome with recurrent mutations identified in a cancer gene panel that used next-generation sequencing in pretreatment biopsies from 31 patients and results of early interim positron emission tomography/computed tomography scans in 20 patients. ORR was 37.5% with a complete response rate of 12.5%, median progression-free survival (PFS) of 14 months, and 2-year PFS of 20.4%. Response rates were significantly higher among patients whose disease was sensitive to rituximab (52.6%) compared with those who were rituximab refractory (16.7%) (P = .04). CARD11 mutations were present in 16% of patients (5 of 31) and predicted resistance to ibrutinib with only wild-type patients responding (P = .002). Maximum standardized uptake value at cycle 1 day 8 correlated with response and PFS. Ibrutinib was well-tolerated with a toxicity profile similar to labeled indications. Ibrutinib is a well-tolerated treatment with modest activity in relapsed FL. Evaluation of BTK inhibitors in earlier lines of therapy may be warranted on the basis of improved response rates in rituximab-sensitive disease. Somatic mutations such as CARD11 may have an impact on response to ibrutinib, may inform clinical decisions, and should be evaluated in larger data sets. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT01849263.
© 2018 by The American Society of Hematology.